Sep 6, 2009

My Friend Rick

Every now and then, someone does something so nice for you, so altruistic, that it changes your entire attitude about life and restores your faith in mankind. I am that person to my good friend, Rick Rhoman from Puerto Rico. (Remember, that’s not his real name. I added an extra letter to throw you off, but I won't divulge which letter.)

I met Rick 31 years ago when he was my ninth-grade science teacher. The guy was an absolute genius, ahead of his time. He taught us all about Darwinism, evolution, biology, and wizardry (way before J.K. Rowling stole his idea -- except his wizard's name was Norman. Norman the Wizard). Rick also told me I had artificial intelligence long before Al Gore invented the Internet.

God put Rick in my life as a guardian angel. I know this because he saved my life when I was 13. I was walking into his biology class and fainted right there on the classroom floor, but Rick had the presence of mind to quickly douse my face with nearby beakers of acid and formaldehyde. It worked wonders. The pain of the acid helped me regain consciousness and cleared up my embarrassing teenage acne. Yes, I needed plastic surgery afterwards and yes, he asked me to reimburse him for the formaldehyde,* but the important thing is that I probably would still be unconscious today if it wasn’t for him. [*Note: I had no idea formadelhyde was so expensive -- $60 for an ounce, plus $75 for each additional ounce, but you don't complain about money when someone just saved your life.]

Anyway, Rick is so bright that he’s the closest thing to a TV doctor that I’ve ever met. I’ve called him for medical advice more than two times in the past three decades. Once my husband had unbearable leg cramps, and Rick told us to get Joe’s appendix removed right away. Another time, my son was bitten by a frothing raccoon, and Rick explained that our boy probably picked up a rabie and just needed to walk it off. My son walked for three days, and now he seems normal. He does try to bite us now and then, but what teenager doesn't?

Many times in life I have called upon the knowledge wisely imparted to us in Rick’s classroom. Once I found myself trapped in an airport elevator with an electric eel, but thanks to Rick’s teachings, I was able to kill the eel immediately and dissect it with my exacto knife. I could even name the different parts of its anatomy – head, foot, clavicle, etc. Again, that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t met Rick. Of course, I'm not allowed to take my exacto knife into the airports anymore, but that’s ok -- I now take the trains.

You might wonder how someone like Rick got to be so bright. It’s a combination of being naturally gifted and learning at the best universities. I know he speaks fondly of the years he studied abroad in Rome, home of the Eiffel Tower. Also, despite being hit by lightning twice, Rick is almost always able to hold semi-coherent conversations in that broken English accent. Rick was such an effective teacher that both of my older sisters, who were also taught by him, came quite close to graduating from high school.

Rick has popped in and out of my life quite a few times, especially soon after I graduated from high school. He and his wife not only went to my high school and college graduations (though not invited), but they also attended my wedding and my sisters’ weddings (again, no invitation, and no gift either. Plus, they stole two dinner plates).

Rick got lucky and married a model who is from Sweden or some other country in Australia. Upon meeting Rick for the first time, Lori’s gut instincts and faulty prescription lenses told her he was "Mr. Right." They now have two kids who luckily take after their mother. Anyway, let’s just say that after years of knowing them, we’ve grown quite fond of the Rhomans, so fond that I would consider waving if I spotted them in the mall.

Anyway, I hadn’t heard from Rick for years and years, and suddenly we got a collect phone call at 2:00 in the morning, and there was Rick on the other end of the line, asking for money. I told him that Joe lost his job, but he was insistent that we give him money to launch his start-up business, promising to split the profits once he becomes rich.

Being on the inside track in the scientific world, Rick says he has foreseen the burgeoning need for wallabies here in the U.S. He is importing eight of the creatures and plans to breed these animals to sell to local farmers and high school students. He thinks the wallabies will be the newest craze, like Sea Monkeys or Sham Wows! (Sea Monkeys – just add water and stir. It sounded like a good idea, until I drank ‘em.)

Rick tried this wallaby venture once before, but he only imported males the first time. Reproduction of the species under those conditions, he learned after months of research, was nearly impossible. This time, he will import a female too. With eight animals in all, he calculates that they will reproduce and hit the million mark in just six months, despite the seven-month gestation period. Madness? No, I say he’s a genius . . . and others do too. Rick’s brilliant plan has already been endorsed by renowned scientist Stanley Hawking, who is said to be Steven Hawking’s step brother, twice removed (from prison – he got out early on good behavior both times).

Anyway, I have to admit I was feeling a little down, but Rick’s phone call changed everything. Sometimes in life we are overwhelmed with problems, but then someone comes along and gives us the best gift of all – hope. Thanks, Rick. It’s an honor to call you my friend. In less than a year, we’ll both be swimming in money or wallabies! It’s up to America to decide.

-- I like the bit about the trains. Please include more locomotion humor in future posts.
AJR - Dayton, OH
(Jackie's note: Will do, AJR! People just don't joke about transportation like they used to in the old days. I think it's a taboo topic in our modern world.)

-- Keep an eye on the wallabies, they may try to pocket the profits.
Ron - N.J.(What exit?)

--I was innocent!
Stanley Hawking, no longer in Leavenworth, KS